Book Rec

Restful Weekend

US folks, I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend, and for everyone else, I hope Monday wasn’t too bad. :) I finished writing my romantic fantasy on Saturday (at 106k words! 🎉), then promptly fell into a reading hole and didn’t move for the rest of the weekend.

I needed the break. I wrote 44k words this month, which is a lot for me. Last month I wrote 14k. But as my bff always says, “As time goes to zero, effort goes to infinity.”

She’s not wrong, and I did want to get this book done by the end of May, but I always write the second half of books faster than the first, because a lot of the early time is just figuring stuff out: how does the world work, what do these characters want, etc. By the time I’m in the final quarter, it’s usually a quick downhill slide to the end.

I still need to do another pass to make sure those last 44k words make sense, but I’m going to be very close to my self-imposed deadline, so that’s nice. Next, we’ll see if anyone wants to buy it, or if I end up going the self-pub route. There are pros and cons of each, so it’ll be an interesting decision, assuming any of the trad houses actually want it, lol.

I spent Saturday evening and all day Sunday and Monday blazing through like three books in a row in The New Protectorate series by Abigail Kelly. They’re available in KU, which I have right now, so it was super easy to binge them. Zero regrets, excellent use of my weekend. :)

If you’re looking for a sexy paranormal romance with interesting world-building and snarly, dangerous MMCs who are soft marshmallows for the smart, powerful FMCs, then this might be a series you’ll enjoy. All of the books are standalone couples with HEAs, but later books can have spoilers for world events in earlier books, so reading them in order is probably best. Enjoy!

While I was busy doing my best to imitate a sloth, Mr. M made smoked pork ribs that were delicious. I’m usually not a huge fan of ribs, but these turned out super good. We also watched the Dungeons & Dragons movie, which was surprisingly fun. Movies based on geeky IP can go either way—mostly terrible in the case of video game movies—so it was a refreshing change.

Now I need to shake off my sloth-like ways and buckle down for one last editing pass, then get ready for the release of Capture the Sun. How is it nearly June already???? 😱

Favorites and Recommendations, 2022 Edition

With the holidays just around the corner (hoooooow????), I thought I’d make a little post with some of my favorite things from the year, then ask you all to share your faves, too. That way, if someone is looking for a last-minute gift, there will be some options!

It’s me, I’m someone, and I’m looking for gift ideas. :)

Here are some of my favorites from the year, with fair warning that there is definitely recency bias because the first half of the year was kind of a deadline blur.


The covers of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, Fated Blades, Dance with the Devil, and Legends & Lattes

I try to keep my book rec page updated throughout the year, with varying levels of success, but I wanted to call out four of my very faves, in no particular order: Legends & Lattes, Fated Blades, Dance with the Devil, and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches.

Reading this year has been very hit and miss for me, and while Goodreads assures me I’ve read forty-six books, it doesn’t feel like it, because there are probably that many or more just languishing on my Kindle, partially read. And most of the books I have read have been in the last six months, once my brain was far enough out of the deadline haze to focus.

Or at least kind of focus.

So my theme this years is cosy books. Fated Blades might not seem cosy on the surface, but a book from Ilona and Gordon is always a gift, and they manage to combine action and emotion in a way that rivets me to the page, so I’m counting it.

Dance with the Devil is maybe more cathartic than cosy—a found family working together to take down a tyrannical government—but it’s my list, so I’m counting it, too. Legends & Lattes felt like a hug in book form, perfect for fantasy fans, and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches was absolutely jam-packed with found family feels and a simmering romance. Any of these would be excellent gifts for a reader in your life!

And if you’re looking for books about badass space princesses, close-knit bounty hunters, or rogue queens, I’ve also got you covered! ;)


Mr. M and I typically play a lot of video games, usually co-op games on PC where we can play together. This year, we spent the most time in V Rising, No Man’s Sky, and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, all of which we loved. Then we restarted Terraria for the umpteenth time because why not?

But we also bought Steam Decks this year, which was a splurge, and suddenly, we could not only play all the games we already owned on PC, but we could also easily play single player games while still hanging out together on the couch. I played so much Littlewood, then Graveyard Keeper, and now I’m deep into Rune Factory 5. I have pet monsters and a farm and love interests and I get to go on quests! Best. Game. Ever. :)

A Steam Deck is not a small investment, especially when a Nintendo Switch is cheaper, but if you have a lot of games on Steam already, it is fun to be able to take them with you. I love my desk, but I spend a lot of time at it. Being able to play PC games elsewhere is really nice.


My Black Friday impulse buy was a Ninja Creami for $100, which is probably what I would pay for it again because I’m cheap, so watch for a sale if you’re interested. But y’all, this thing is kind of magic. I dumped in a can of crushed pineapple, and AMAZING came out.

It’s not a traditional ice cream maker, in that it doesn’t slowly churn the mixture as it freezes. Instead, you freeze the mixture solid, then a powerful blade cuts through it, aerating and creamifying it. Apparently there is a professional tool called a Pacojet that does the same thing in commercial kitchens.

So far we’ve made strawberry ice cream, pineapple ice cream, and both peach and pineapple “sorbet,” aka canned fruit dumped into the freezer jar. Both ice creams were incredible, and the pineapple sorbet was divine, but the peach sorbet wasn’t quite sweet enough, probably because our canned peaches were in juice instead of syrup. If I make it again, I’ll probably add a little bit of sugar.

If you like Dole Whip (aka Pineapple Whip), then you’re going to love this thing. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s still soooooo good and all it takes is a can of pineapple.

But be warned: it’s LOUD. If you have thin walls, invite your neighbors over for some ice cream goodness or they’re going to curse your name for the few minutes it runs.

So what about you? What have you loved this year? Self-promo is allowed, but if it feels too spammy, I’ll remove it, so consider recommending others in addition to yourself. :)

Edit: If you include several links, your comment may go into moderation, but I’ll keep an eye on it and fish out the legit comments, so don’t worry if it happens!

Books, Edits, and New Stories

Today brings an absolute bounty of new books from some of my favorite authors!

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews

First up, happy pub day to Ilona Andrews for Ruby Fever! I’ve been in a horrible reading slump for months, but this book smashed through it. It’s so good! Catalina and Alessandro are perfect for each other and this book is an excellent end to their trilogy. It’s intense, y’all, so block off time to read it straight through. You’ll thank me later! :)

I’m friends with Ilona and Gordon, so I’m biased, but it’s an objectively fantastic book (and series!), and it got a starred review from Kirkus, so I’m not the only one who thinks so!

Two more books out today that I’m excited to read: To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins (two words: Grifter. Heroine.) and Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean.

I told you today was a book extravaganza! :)

I finished edits on Honor and Shadows, the HTS prequel novelette. The story didn’t change too much, but the word count grew from 10k to nearly 14k because I added a couple of new scenes. It’s off for copyedits, and I haven’t received edits on Capture the Sun yet (but I have seen an early draft of the cover and it’s 😍!), so that means I get to work on something new.

I sent my fantasy romance beginning to my agent, and she enjoyed it and told me to keep going, so I started working on that. It’s (very loosely) inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and I’m having an absolute blast so far.

I wrote 1500 words yesterday, which is a lot for me, and it was joy from start to finish. Earlier this year, I was skating on the edge of burnout, so it’s nice to work on something with no expectations and no deadline. I don’t know if this will end up with a traditional publisher or not, we’ll just see how things go, but I’m hoping to maybe have it written by the end of the year.

Maybe. I’m not going to push myself quite as hard this time around, and I still have edits/copyedits/etc for CTS, plus the holidays, so it might push into early next year.

I’m trying to be okay with that. We’ll see how that goes, too. 😂

In less good news, I heard from my publisher that they will not be printing physical Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Capture the Sun. (Note: This is for the early reviewer copies only, and does NOT affect the final copies. The book will still be available in print.) There will be e-ARCs, and they are going to try to get me a few bound copies for my standard ARC giveaway, but if you are a reviewer who is used to getting a physical ARC, that won’t be happening this time. Printing and paper costs are through the roof, so they had to make cuts, and unfortunately, CTS was cut.

But since I don’t want to end on a sad note, here’s a picture of my first attempt at Japanese Milk Bread (recipe from King Arthur). It’s a little lopsided because I didn’t exactly divide the dough evenly, but it tastes delicious!

An uneven loaf of Japanese milk bread on a wire rack.

Making it was fussier than my standard sourdough, so it won’t be an all-the-time bread, but it is beautifully soft.

And since I bought real milk for the bread (we usually drink non-dairy milks), I also made the soft cinnamon roll recipe, and that one is a definite win! I’m convinced that coffee and a cinnamon roll is the breakfast of champions. :)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Office Organization

Yesterday, we built IKEA shelves for our office closet, which before was kind of a black hole of disorganization. I can ignore messy clutter for a long, LONG, L-O-N-G time, but there comes a point when my brain’s like NOPE and it has to be fixed.

That was this weekend.

Unfortunately, starting any project like this means taking everything out of the closet, spreading the clutter all over the rest of the room (and bathroom, in this case, since it’s the closest other room with space to stack boxes).

And every project leads to seventeen more. Because our office is really just a bedroom, it had a clothes rod and shelf that had to come out. Then we found there wasn’t any wall paint behind the shelf because it’d been there since the house was built, so I had to go find the painting stuff and hastily patch it up.

Then we realized we were going to have to build the shelf frames in the closet because they wouldn’t clear the door.

But, we were victorious… mostly. 😂 We still need some pretty boxes to organize things, so most of the stuff hasn’t been put away yet, but the main pieces are in. Behold!

A picture of the new shelves and drawers in our office closet, still mostly empty.
Still mostly empty, but getting there!

Some of the shelves were out of stock, so we have to wait for a restock. The project is really only half done, but we made a lot of progress in a single day. So much so, in fact, that I’m sore today from all the lifting and carrying and bending and twisting.

Oh, and before I fell into an organizational hole, I absolutely devoured T. Kingfisher’s Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine. A forger, an assassin, a fallen paladin, and a scholar go on a not entirely voluntary quest to save their city from destruction by clockwork warriors. It’s a delight! I’m now reading Swordheart, which is set in the same world, and I’m enjoying it just as much. If you missed these when they came out, check out a sample!

And let me know if you’ve read anything fantastic lately. Or tackled any organizational projects of your own. We can celebrate/commiserate together. :)

Book Rec: Taming Demons for Beginners

For the past year, reading has been kind of hit and miss for me. My Kindle is a graveyard of half-finished books, many of them books I was really looking forward to, but they just didn’t work for me for whatever reason (spoiler: global pandemic).

Usually, if I can carve out time to read a book straight through, I’ll make it to the end, but if I have to stop for any reason, the book becomes dead to me, even if I was enjoying it up until that point.

Don’t ask me how my brain works, it’s a mystery.

So when I find a book that pulls me to the end through a pause, it’s a bit of a miracle right now. And when I find a series that does it… well, the light from heaven shines down and angels sing.

Taming Demons for Beginners (The Guild Codex: Demonized Book 1) by Annette Marie Cover

This week, that book was Taming Demons for Beginners by Annette Marie. I’m a little late to the party on this one because it came out in 2019, but I glommed the whole four-book series SO! FAST!

And when I did have to put it down, I picked it right back up the next day. It’s compulsively readable in the best possible way (aka not because of cliffhangers, etc).

Set in a world where magic is common but secret, a grieving young woman discovers her uncle is into illegal demon summoning. Unfortunately for her, the demon is imprisoned in a magic circle in the library, but books, so she ends up spending time there because the draw of books is stronger than the fear of demons.

And then she starts taking to him.

And feeding him cookies.

And realizing maybe he’s not the mindless beast she’s been led to believe.

The book is a delight from start to finish. It’s available in Kindle Unlimited, so if you have a subscription, you can try it for free. If not, I recommend reading a sample before purchase, as per usual, because books are subjective. This was exactly what my brain needed this week, but that might not be true for you. :)

The next three books, Slaying Monsters for the Feeble, Hunting Fiends for the Ill-Equipped, and Delivering Evil for Experts are also available in KU, and I recommend them all.

Happy reading!